Some of the Immediate Needs of Chicago March 20, 1911 (excerpts)


Jane Addams Sees It as Chicago's Greatest Need.


Tells Credit Men Conditions Demand Close Supervision.

That suppression of the "dance hall evil" is one of the crying needs of Chicago and that a rigid system of supervision by municipal authorities should be inaugurated for public amusement places whose patrons chiefly are young people was the declaration of Miss Jane Addams of Hull house last night. Miss Addams spoke on "Some of the Immediate Needs of Chicago" at the annual "ladies' night banquet" of the Chicago Credit Men's association at the Midday club.

"There are 306 licensed and 100 or more unlicensed dance halls running in Chicago [today]," said Miss Addams. "The main support of the majority of them is their sale of liquor. They have four minute dances and twenty minute intermissions, in which every opportunity and encouragement to drink is given the dancers. As most of the attendants are boys between 16 and 18 and girls between 14 and 16, and, as there are about 28,000 attendants each night this readiness of the hall proprietors to encourage intoxication becomes a point of some interest. [page 2]

Trouble Easy to Find.

"Everything about the halls converges to get the dancers into trouble, to befuddle them with liquor until they forget the proprieties -- even the decencies. Present supervision is inadequate; during the recent investigation it was found that of 158 policemen on duty at various halls only 17 were paying attention to anything except the stopping of an occasional fight.

'The same things which apply to dance halls may be said to apply to the excursion steamers which ply the lake in summer. They need supervision. Dancing is surely an innocent pastime; sailing certainly should be -- yet under present conditions both are distinctly dangerous.

"It lies within the club's ability. I believe, to help end the conditions which make this true."

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